"Lady Amherst"
Photo from Maxwell MacPherson, Jr.
Thanks for use permission!
Previous Flies
Fly Tying Terms

 I am not really sure where and when this fly was invented. I'm not really sure either who concocted it! Rumor has it that it was invented in Canada, as most of the fly's magnificent history seems to be there. The Canadian record for atlantic salmon was a fish of 55 pounds taken on June 27, 1939 on Quebec's Grand Cascapedia River by Esmond B. Martin. Between 1938 and 1974 there were no less than nine years' records, as compiled by Field & Stream Magazine, which were taken on "Lady Amhersts". It is definately one of my favorites, but mostly for its exhibition properties and not for its ability to take large salmon. It is a favorite of the ladies worldwide. It's my wife's favorite!~Maxwell MacPherson, Jr.

Materials List:

Hook:  Best done on hooks between 3/0 and 10/0, steel eye or gut eye (this particular fly is on an 8/0 blind eye hook with silkworm gut eye.)

Tag: Tag Silver thread and yellow floss.

Tail: A topping and Blue Chatterer (substitute kingfisher or hen neck dyed blue).

Butt: Black ostrich herl.

Body: Flat silver tinsel over an underbody of white floss.

Ribs:  Medium oval silver tinsel.

Hackle:  A badger hackle.

Throat: Teal.

Wing:  An inner wing of two extended Jungle Cock feathers (set back to back) going back to a position about one-quarter inch lower than the tip of the tail; over the Jungle Cock are two sets of Amherst Pheasant tippet feathers, the first set of which extends back so that they do not cover the tips of the Jungle Cock; the second set of tippets cover the first set so that the first black bar of the second set align with the second black bar of the first set. Both of these sets are back to back.

Sides:  Jungle Cock.

Cheeks: Blue Chatterer (kingfisher or hen neck dyed blue); Topping over all.

Horns:  Blue and yellow Macaw (sometimes the horns are left off).

Dressing (Tying) Instructions:

Salmon flies are not easy to dress, especially for the beginner. But the effort and perseverence of a dedicated fly dresser will make these feathery concoctions look like works of art. And, they are that  indeed!

1. The silkworm gut is first twisted and left to dry for about twenty minutes. It is then doubled and a loop formed in the middle. The gut isthen lashed to the bottom of the blind eye hook with the ends extending as far back as a position over the hook point.

2. Then the fly dressing commences with the tying in of the silver thread (or fine oval silver tinsel). About four turns of tinsel should suffice.

3. Next the yellow floss is applied starting about one-quarter inch ahead of where you left off with the tinsel. A single strand of yellow floss is used for this. It is wound back to the tinsel and then wound forward to the tie-in.

4. Here the Topping is tied in on top of the hook shank so that it is in  line with the top of the hook shank.

5. The blue feather is then tied so that it lays flat on the base of the tail. It should only extend over the tail about three-eighths of an inch.

6. The ostrich herl butt can now be tied in. Be careful to do this so that the fibers of the herl point to the rear of the fly or straight up (never to the front).

7. Tie in a length of oval silver tinsel so that you have enough to make five evenly spaced turns. Now bind down the remnant end of the tinsel to the underside of the hook shank up to a position about one-quarter inch short of the front end of the hook. Leave the usable end of the rib hanging out of the way for the time being.

8. Next tie in a length of white floss where you finished up. The length of the floss should be about 12 inches. Wrap it back toward the butt with nice even turns so that no black from the hook shows through. Once you are at the butt, reverse direction and wrap until you are at the tie in point again. The idea here is to make a smooth surface for the flat silver tinsel which follows after the next step.

9. The next part is to take your tying thread to mid-shank. Prepare the badger hackle by "doubling" it. This is done by attaching your hackle pliers to the butt of the hackle, holding the hackle pliers with three fingers (which frees your thumb and forefinger). Grab the tip of the feather with the thumb and forefinger of the other hand. Now wet your thumb and forefinger of the hand holding the hackle pliers. Immediately stroke the fibers of the hackle with the wet fingers so that the fibers bend and form a "V" of the two sides of the hackle. The hackle can now be tied into place near the tip (where the fibers begin with the "V"). When tying it into place make sure that the open part of the "V" is facing you or slightly to the rear of the fly ( when you actually go to wrapping it the fibers will point to the rear, as they should). Don't wrap the rib or hackle until after the next step.

10. Carry the tying thread to where you originally tied in the white floss (near the head area). Here attach a length of flat silver tinsel of about 18 inches in length. Wrap the flat tinsel toward the butt, around the hackle going back. When you reach the butt, reverse the direction and wind forward, again around the hackle, and then tie off at the starting point. The object here is to make a body that looks like it was painted on. Nice close even turns with no floss showing through.

11. Now wrap the rib (which was left hanging in a previous step) in five, evenly spaced turns, the third one of which should come just to the right of the hanging (prepared) hackle. The fifth turn of the rib should be right where the flat tinsel was tied off. Tie off the rib tinsel here also.

12. Next, carefully wrap the hackle forward so that each turn comes just behind each turn of the third, fourth and fifth turn of rib. The hackle pliers should still be attached to the butt end of the hackle.Tie off the hackle at the place where the other materials were tied off. You should have about a quarter inch of space left between the tie off point and the end of the hook.

13. The rear half of space left will be occupied by a Teal hackle throat. This is prepared from a Teal hackle fashioned using the same method as for the badger hackle. Once you have it made up, tie it in and give two or three close wraps and then tie off. The remnant ends of the hackle can be cut out of the way in preparation for the wings.

14. Build up the area where the head and wing material is to be fastened so that the head area is about one-eighth inch in diameter. You're now ready for the wing!

15. Tie into place two back to back Jungle Cock feathers so that they are in line with the hook shank standing on edge and extending to a point about one-quarter inch below the tip of the tail topping.

16. Now tie into place the first set of Amherst Pheasant tippets so that they too are in line with the top of the hook shank and reaching back so that they do not quite cover light spots on the Jungle Cock. You might need to do some adjustments after you have given a few turns of thread over the butt ends of the tippets.

17. Once you have them where you want then apply a second set of tippets over the first set so that the first bar of the second set overlaps the second bar of the first set. Again, adjust the feathers with your fingers after a few wraps of tying thread.

18. You're ready for the Jungle Cock sides, which should be flat against the tippets and going back to about the first black bar nearest the head of the fly.

19. The blue feathers should go over these and occupy a position about one-half inch from the head area.

20. Next prepare the topping by aligning it to judge the length from tip to tie in point. Nick the topping at the proposed tie in point and bend the butt section up. Give a few wraps around the nicked point and adjust the topping so it sits properly.

21. One fiber of Blue and Yellow Macaw should go on each side of the top portion of the fly, with the blue side of the fiber facing out on each side.

22. Fashion a nice head, lacquer with black lacquer and let dry overnight before packaging. Viola! There you are... a "Lady Amherst"!~ Maxwell MacPherson, Jr.

For more information on Atlantic Salmon Flies we recommend that you also check out the MaxFlies website or if you have questions or comments contact MaxFlies

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